Over the past few years the company HubSpot has developed an overwhelming, amazing online mystique.
It's amazing because, at its most basic, HubSpot's business is selling marketing and sales automation software. However, its two co-founders, CEO Brian Halligan (CEO) and Darmesh Shah (CTO), have placed their software within a framework that is revolutionizing how much of the world looks at both sales and marketing.
We decided to write this blog post because nearly everyday somebody asks us whether HubSpot is legit. Is it a scam?
The HubSpot Framework Now Dominates the Conversation, so Maybe It is Taking Over the World
The two co-founders met in grad school in 2004. They both noticed how adept consumers became at avoiding the usual, old-school marketing tactics. However, Darmesh's blog generated more traffic than companies with marketing budgets and teams. What was going on?
What they figured out was not really new.
Ever since the government opened the Internet up for general access and commercialization in 1994, pundits began predicting the end of traditional "push" or "interruption" marketing as exemplified by Madison Avenue TV commercials and the triumph of "pull" or "demand" marketing. As HubSpot puts it, traditional marketing was dead.
And many people announced that, online, "content was king," and would triumph over the pushy, hypey marketing and sales tactics many businesses practiced (and still practice). Banner ads were popular at first, but online web browsers quickly developed "banner blindness," so producing content to get traffic from search engines was the most viable online marketing tactic. And Yahoo and Altavista (Google came later) didn't know or care whether articles came from a big name company or a geek in their bedroom.
Halligan and Shah co-founded developed a framework and terminology for what is now known as inbound or content marketing. They even coined the term "inbound," a simple inverse of the traditional "outbound" marketing, usually applied to telemarketing. They came up with software to support their methods, and, in 2006, founded the company to sell it.
In this post, Kissmetrics goes into incredible detail about HubSpot's growth as a company.
At its most basic level, HubSpot sells sales and marketing automation software. However, it does so by making their vision of customers empowered by inbound marketing their mission. Traditional marketing isn't dead yet (Television still shows commercials. The big-name mail order houses such as Agora and Boardroom still make a profit sending "junk" mail.) However, the trend is down, and that's going to continue, especially if HubSpot has anything to say about it. They're digging traditional sales and marketing's grave. Countless agencies are signing on as HubSpot partners, because in many ways, the methodology works. According to the HubSpot trainer of this article writer, "We are changing people's lives."
It is the most cost effective way of marketing online.
Some companies like Inboundr make it even easier for HubSpot partner agencies to service their clients. They're in pre-registration phase so put your agency name forward to be one of the first to capitalise on outsourced creative teams who are well-versed in the HubSpot universe.
HubSpot Evolved a Lot of Existing Marketing Methods
Copywriting teachers have advised novice writers to visualize and write to a typical person in their target market, but HubSpot popularized the term "buyer persona."
They also coined the term "Buyer's Journey" and defined its four stages. Many web content writers have written articles and blog posts for their own sites and others to impress prospects so they become customers. However, before HubSpot, nobody clearly explained how different types of content could nurture prospects who are in different stages of the Buyer's Journey. Before, experts and gurus assumed all good content applied to everybody who might want to buy or buy more.
Method to the Madness.
HubSpot recognised that the same blog post that could attract a stranger to a blog and convert them into a lead would not necessarily convert that lead into a customer. That's because the browser that is still in the first stage, Awareness, is not yet ready for content talking about how great your product is. The psychology is different. They're still researching their problem. They need basic information about their choices. And, usually, the keyword phrase they put into the search engine will reflect that. Therefore, content answering their questions will ranking more highly.
Content comparing your solution with your competitor is for prospects who are in the Consideration stage of the Buyer's Journey. They don't need basic information. They know and understand their problem. Now they need to figure out what solution suits them best.
HubSpot defined and organized the key components of inbound marketing.
To be continued...
We continue this topic in Part Two.